Rhymes with rats.

by wheneversomeday

In the last few nights, the ch-ch, ch-ch sounds coming from our south-facing bedroom wall had become slightly unbearable. I kept thinking it was a restless dog of the next-door neighbors, or that they were doing some wall engravings. Last night, A and I discovered it was neither of these things. And though my conjecture was a rat was in the walls, I wasn’t too far off.

While having a rather serious discussion regarding our dance relationship, we were continuously interrupted by agitated scratching sounds and the occasional muffled “squeee!”

“I don’t like to assume”—Ch-ch, ch-ch—”where I’m going to be led next”—Squee…squee—”because it’s not my idea of tan—”—Ch-ch, squee!

Annoyed by the unsolicited intrusion on my all-too-important sentiment, I stomped toward the wall from which the interruptions spewed and held my ear to it.

This was a bad idea for many reasons. First, the image in my head (a lone rat, perhaps, lost in the walls) exploded into a million vermin, suffocatingly crawling and squirming past each other in a crepuscular frenzy obviously surrounding food. Second, the intense squeaking multiplied several times in volume, sending a harsh chill down my body. Third, I no longer wanted to sleep in this room, ever! Rats, rats filled my mind in every nook and cranny. I had never before now understood Winston Smith’s deathly phobia of these rodents that some of my primary school friends had kept lovingly as pets.

“In your case,” said O’Brien, “the worst thing in the world happens to be rats.”

I motioned for A to put his ear up to the wall, and he followed suit; his eyes soon widened as big as mine. Hypothesizing that if it were a rat’s nest, then they’d be all over the garbage, A flung back the curtains to expose the view down from our second story window of the lighted trash can area. Clean as a whistle, so to speak.

But then swoosh! A furiously flapping black blur screamed across our view—a bat! we exclaimed at the glass. It circled around a few times before landing somewhere to the right of our window. We ran over to the wall to listen in again, I guess because we could now picture what was actually happening on the other side (a million bats), which was inexplicably more calming than the idea of a million rats.

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